Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

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A few concerns and a lot of hope for improving Madison at Bus Rapid Transit open house

Neighbors and future riders shared some of their last critiques of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project at an open house for the project held at Miller Community Center Wednesday night.

“We’re at 90% design, so they’re still not completely a hundred percent finalized yet. We’re coming out tonight and showing people the 90% design and what’s changed from 60%,” said Joshua Shippy, the Madison BRT project manager.

Many open house attendees had been following the Madison BRT’s designs since the project’s early stages.

“I always get concerned that transit projects will be watered down when they have to deal with so many different competing interests,” said Steve Goodreau, an open house attendee. “That was a big concern of mine, especially during the first few phases, but I’m happy to see that the dedicated lane remains throughout pretty much all of First Hill, and so has all the signal priority.”

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Reminder: Madison Bus Rapid Transit — RapidRide G — open house

City of Seattle and King County Metro representatives will be on hand Wednesday night at Capitol HIll’s Miller Community Center to answer your questions and gather your feedback on the latest round of design updates for the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project set to dig in and begin construction next year.

Madison BRT Open House

Representatives will also be available at the Madrona and Capitol Hill farmers markets this weekend.

CHS reported here on the latest updates to the $120 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station RapidRide G route including what planners hope are improved crossings for pedestrians and the major decision to focus on a new diesel-hybrid bus fleet for the line. Pending approval of federal funding that will cover about half of the costs, the start of construction is slated for 2020 with service starting late in 2022.

SDOT has also documented the project in an online open house where it is collecting feedback at RapidRideG.participate.online.

City rolling out delayed changes on Broadway to speed up streetcar

Fuchsia Streetcar

Bowing to local business pressure — and what it predicts will be a radically transformed transportation corridor thanks to the  $120 million, 2.3-mile Madison Bus Rapid Transit project — the Seattle Department of Transportation has updated its long-delayed plans for improvements to the First Hill Streetcar following pushback business owners and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. Despite complaints about the elimination of left-turns and the addition of red paint for a transit-only lane, SDOT still plans to alter traffic signals and implement a transit-only lane — eventually.

“Complex intersections where other vehicles might be making a left turn or otherwise blocking the intersection slows down the streetcar,” SDOT representative Ethan Bergerson said.

Last year, CHS reported on SDOT’s plans for potential changes to the First Hill Streetcar route to make the streets more efficient for the rail transit and, hopefully, boost ridership. But Capitol Hill businesses — led by the now-disolved Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce — and the mayor’s office pushed back on the proposals and the project has been stuck in neutral since.

SDOT officials say the department has since made changes to traffic signals and turns on Yesler in an effort to speed up that section of the First Hill Streetcar. Adjustments included restricting left turning vehicles from east and westbound directions during peak afternoon traffic times at Yesler and Boren, restricting left turning vehicles at Yesler and 12th, and synchronizing traffic signals at Yester and 14th.

Officials say SDOT now plans to make similar adjustments to the Broadway section of the streetcar, implementing changes as soon as this fall.  Continue reading

Madison Bus Rapid Transit design changes rolled out as project nears planned 2020 start of construction

How about some shorter crosswalks, for one!

The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro are ready to roll out a near-final set of design updates for the planned Madison Bus Rapid Transit line that will reshape the street from downtown to the Madison Valley.

With a plan for a 2020 start of construction and service starting late in 2022, the latest Madison BRT design updates will be on display at a series of open houses and community tabling events in neighborhoods along the $120 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station route.

Madison BRT Open House

SDOT has also documented the project in an online open house where it is collecting feedback at RapidRideG.participate.online.

Changes in the latest round of updates follow an earlier series of community meetings on the project. The latest updates focused on improving conditions at key intersections including at 12th Ave and 24th Ave where the route will mix with busy traffic flows and bustling streets. SDOT says highlights include shorter crosswalks — and a major tweak that will prevent it from having to install trolley wires for blocks along the route:

  • Shorter crosswalks at key intersections so people walking have time to get to the other side of the street Continue reading

Eat at E Madison’s Little Uncle soon — the Franks are ready to move on

At least you will have time to say goodbye. Born at the farmer’s market and raised in the E Madison walk-up now home to Westman’s Bagels before eventually opening in the compact but space at 16th and Madison, Thai jungle curry and khao soi specialist Little Uncle is up for sale as the couple behind the business are set to take new paths.

Wiley and PK Frank say they wanted to be as transparent as possible for their small team of employees and large contingent of dedicated customers about what comes next as they search for a buyer:

After almost 9 years, we have decided to move on to do other things with our lives. PK has been enrolled in carpentry school for the past 9 months at Seattle Central’s Wood Technology program. Her interest in carpentry and construction will inevitably lead her away from the restaurant life. Wiley will pursue other food related avenues, such as perfecting french dip sandwiches, pies and parker house rolls.

“It is important to note that we currently do not have a buyer, so we will continue to be open until a buyer arises,” they write. “We just feel the need to put our decision out into the public so that you all can hear it from us.” Continue reading

Seattle arts venue nomad Love City Love making new home below 12th Ave

Love City Love’s new home below Stumptown (Image: Love City Love)

Love City Love’s fantastic journey of art and community across Seattle will bring the venue to yet another new Capitol Hill home.

With its move was marked by the disappearance of its neon sign that used to light up the former American Artificial Limb Co. space on E Pike, the nonprofit has created a new event space and art gallery under Stumptown Coffee on 12th Ave. At its new location, Love City Love will continue to house a variety of creative endeavors.

“Love City Love is an all inclusive art and culture hub. It is designed to bring all people together, connect, inspire, activate, and push cultural criticism of the status quo,” said founder Lucien Pellegrin who spoke to CHS as a representative of the collective. “Love City Love supports individuals who continue the conversation of how to re define culture, what do about our new found technology crisis, and how to create more spaces fostering human interaction and authentic connection.” Continue reading

I drank this on Capitol Hill: The Rosé Bud at Pony

Celebrating Pride, CHS stopped by Pony for a drink on a sunny afternoon. Timmy Roghaar has been bartending at Pony for a year now and this is his first bartending gig ever. “I’m also a drag queen,” Roghaar informs us while making our drink. “I go by Strawberry Shartcake and I’ve been performing for about three years now. You can catch me at R Place about once a month and at the Palace in Georgetown,” Roghaar says. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A very big crane comes safely down at 14th and Madison

The first major disassembly and removal on Capitol Hill following April’s deadly crane fall in South Lake Union was not uneventful.

High winds last Friday forced crews to stop the effort above the mixed-use construction at 14th and E Madison mid-project.

It was completed without incident — like most of the big crane projects across Capitol Hill and the Central District in the last decade —  on a much calmer day this Tuesday as Chinn Construction crews again set to taking apart the huge machine section by section above the closed 14th Ave. Continue reading

Move All Seattle Sustainably calls for more to be done more quickly to move buses around the city… more quickly

The Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition, the raft of community groups that came together last fall to push Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration to act more quickly on transforming the city’s transportation infrastructure, are calling for support Tuesday as a Seattle City Council committee hears updates on levy spending and RapidRide implementation.

“We think the City needs to be more ambitious about prioritizing public transit on our roads,” MASS writes. “Buses carrying scores of riders shouldn’t get stuck behind a sea of single-occupancy vehicles!”

The $930 million “levy to move Seattle” had a lot going for it in improving transit across the city and in District 3 but some of the realities of the plan have fallen short of hopes. One example is the coming set of protected bike lanes on E Union where city planners are considering a setup that would include forcing bicyclists to ride on the sidewalk at key intersections. Continue reading